"He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD." - Deuteronomy 23:1 KJV

"For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off." - Isaiah 56:4-5 KJV

How and why are eunuchs forbidden to enter the congregation per Devarim 23:1 but are accepted in Isaiah 56:4-5?

Am I misreading, in that they still won't be a part of the congregation, but just have special place?

1 Answer 1


The verse in Deuteronomy is a halachik prohibition for a descendent of the 12 tribes to marry a man with specific types of injuries to his genitals. That is the full extent of the law and the injured man is certainly considered fully part of the community for all other halachot. The verse in Isaiah is a consolation and an assurance that one's continuity and the meaning of one's life is not dependent upon the physical ability to procreate, but rather upon the choices one makes.

  • 1
    Additionally, the prohibition in Deuteronomy applies only to those who had mechanical injury to their reproductive organs. Isaiah includes those who lost fertility to disease.
    – Shalom
    Jun 4, 2015 at 8:28
  • Lo-yavo seems like it's a prohibition on him, not her, isn't it? Jul 14, 2021 at 1:17
  • he.m.wikisource.org/wiki/… מ"ג Jul 14, 2021 at 1:32
  • @NissimNanach I believe it's on both (which I think is the general rule with arayot including chayvei lavin). See e.g. Isurei Biah 1:8 "הבא על אחת מחייבי לאוין במזיד הוא לוקה והיא" hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?rid=4045 (I may have heard that there is a discussion about almanah lkohen gadol .)
    – Loewian
    Jul 14, 2021 at 4:53

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